Saturday, October 24, 2009


Almighty God, gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on the Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Truth for man is so elusive that many, like Pilate the Governor wonder what truth really is. There is widespread skepticism. What is proclaimed as truth today is not what is was yesterday…so some question, who knows what it will be tomorrow? In addition, there are various kinds of truth in our world it seems; political, scientific, and spiritual. In our Gospel Jesus is dealing with the most profound ground of truth concerning God and life.

In our lesson Jesus tells us two realities...

1. What truth is - “If you continue in My Word you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth.”

A. The picture of Jesus as the hero or Messiah is by no means limited to the Jewish audiences of His day. Many modern Christians also think of Jesus as a model for socio-economic and political reform. {I once heard a person ask in all seriousness “could a sincere Christian be a registered Democrat?”}

1. The Jews of Jesus’ day believed that the Messiah would come to “restore the kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1:6), a mistaken view that Jesus corrected repeatedly throughout His ministry namely that it was John the Baptist who would come first:

a. Matthew 11:14 -And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”

b. Matthew 17:11-13 - “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

c. Mark 9:11-13 -To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”

2. The contemporary messianic expectations of all sorts of people are directed to the attainment of world peace, economic prosperity, and enjoyment of good things of this life. Actually, one does not need to believe in Jesus in order to live for such hopes. (e.g. radio talk-show host Glen Beck who is not a Christian but of the Mormon faith)

B. Those hopes contradicted the Word of Jesus. This Word is important because we who believe Him shall know the truth – if we continue in His Word.

1. It is truth regarding His person – who He is; namely, the only Son of the Father (John 8:54-55). Jesus is the truth in contrast to the devil, “the prince of this world,” whose nature it is to live (v.44).

2. It is truth regarding ourselves and our condition before God, our Creator and Judge. According to our fallen nature, we have the spiritual image and likeness of the devil. To know the truth about ourselves is to know what has happened to us, whom God originally had made for Himself. But the Jews did not want to know that. (Vs. 33)

Transition: Not only does Jesus tell us what the truth is – He tells us what the truth will do.

2. What this truth does – “the truth will make you free.”

A. This is not just any “truth” but the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (14:6). We confess Him as “the only begotten Son of God…who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures.”

B. How does Jesus make us free?

1. By redeeming us from the judgment of God and of sin. (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23) Forgiveness of sin is no sentimental disposition of God. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). By obeying god’s law for us and by suffering the penalty of our trespass, He provided for us acquittal and life in Him. (Romans 5:18-19)

2. The forgiven sinner is received by God as a member of His family. Freedom in Christ must be understood as sharing in the liberty of Him who “is all in all” (Colossians 1:15-20)

Jesus Christ, our truth and freedom, is also our continuing hope. “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My words, he will never see death.” (John 8:51; eternal death.) We Christians live in this hope. Reformation Day reminds us how we live in hope, namely, by daily contrition for the sins that cling to us in this world and in the firm faith that God continually forgives us our sins for Christ’s sake.

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